WATCH | Sen. Bernie Sanders addresses graduates of Brooklyn College.
Former presidential candidate and current Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders detailed the current state of democracy in the US during a Tuesday commencement address at Brooklyn College, Newsweek reported. While addressing newly-graduated students, Sanders took a stab at income inequality, proposed Republican legislation, and the criminal justice system.
He urged students of diverse backgrounds to unify and "stand together."
Sander's commencement speech cultivated a similar ethos to that evoked during his campaign rallies.
He said, "In America today, CEOs of major corporations now earn about 350 times more than the average worker makes. In terms of income, 52 percent of all new income goes to the top 1%. In other words, the very rich are becoming much richer."
The Brooklyn native continued, "Directly related to the oligarchic economy that we currently have is an oligarchic and corrupt political system which is undermining American democracy. As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations and billionaires are able to spend unlimited sums of money on elections. The result is that today a handful of billionaire families are spending hundreds of millions a year to make sure that candidates who represent the rich and the powerful get elected."
Though he never directly mentioned President Trump by name, Sanders mentioned several initiatives that have been targeted by Trump administration officials, including healthcare, education and Planned Parenthood.
While he did paint a dark picture of the current political climate in the US, Sanders also attempted to cultivate a sense of optimism and inspiration through a call to action.
He declared at the end of his speech, "The truth is that the only rational choice we have, the only real response we can make, is to stand up and fight back reclaim American democracy and create a government that works for all of us, and not just the 1 percent."